Agony of students stranded in Russia - Daily Nation

Agony of students stranded in Russia

Monday September 28 2015

Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi at a past event.

Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi at a past event. More than 40 Kenyan students on government scholarships at various universities in Russia are stranded after the ministry of Education withheld financial aid. PHOTO | JAMES EKWAM | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By ISAAC ONGIRI
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More than 40 Kenyan students on government scholarships at various universities in Russia are stranded after the Ministry of Education withheld financial aid.

The students are now forced to seek odd jobs to raise funds in a country where foreign students are prohibited from working.

The government had undertaken to provide money for visa renewals, medical cover and other welfare expenses but the Ministry of Education withdrew funding, leading to desperation and suffering for the students.

Some are youthful civil servants awarded scholarships through the government by Russia.

“In this country, we can’t even look for the simplest jobs because of the strict Russian laws, which prohibit foreign students from working.

"This makes life extremely difficult for students abandoned by their government,” the students said in a memorandum.

TOUGHER TIMES
They added: “With the rising inflation here in Russia, life has become even harder and unbearable without government support.”

The students need about $500 (Sh50,000) monthly above the tuition fee normally covered by various scholarship programmes organised by the Russian and Kenyan authorities.

The learners accused the Kenyan embassy of laxity in handling the matter, adding that students are arrested when found working at construction sites.

Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed said the ministry withdrew the stipend provided by the Higher Education Loans Board.

However, she said discussions with the Education ministry were under way to restore the stipend.

The issue has attracted the attention of Kenyans abroad, with Kenya Diaspora Alliance committee member Chris Njenga saying the group was hoping for a quick solution.